Veteran Arts & Wellness Collaborative

Program Overview

The Veteran Arts & Wellness Collaborative (VAWC) is designed to be a creative, trusted space for veterans and their families (or caregivers) to engage with literary, visual, and performing arts as a conduit for healing the mind and body, as well as building community.

For veterans transitioning out of the military and reintegrating back into civilian life, it is a “situated and dynamic life event which affects one’s mobility to cross boundaries from military to civilian life” and demands a “socially mediated effort” to aid in the reconstruction of a veteran’s personal identity and sense of belonging¹. This transition is further compounded by the residuals of living through a global pandemic, especially for veterans with PTSD or other health issues.

Studies have also shown that engaging with the arts is positively associated with psychological wellbeing and is critical to the process of integrating an individual into the society to which they belong².

This Veteran Arts & Wellness Collaborative promises to have a positive impact on the socio-emotional components of veteran wellness, to include: interpersonal relationships and building trust; stress reduction; developing a mindfulness practice to improve self-awareness, empathy, and intuition; effectively managing emotions; sense of belonging and community; feelings of joy and happiness; boosting self-confidence; and discovering a sense of purpose, value, and meaning in life.

VAWC logo TSA blue

Hosted by The Storytellers Alliance Community Outreach Program (501c3)

Collaborators: The VAWC is a veteran-focused initiative, specifically structured to be a veteran-to-veteran arts and wellness program. Any program collaborators, such as musicians or other guest artists, are veterans who also have first-hand experience, education, and/or expertise in the areas of arts and wellness for veterans.

References:
¹ DeGroat, Arthur S. 2016. “Exploring the Lived Experience of the Post 9-11 Army Veteran in Transition: Toward a Theoretical Framework.” Ed.D., United States -- Kansas: Kansas State University. https://www.proquest.com/docview/1872365366/abstract/C86053D1A9024736PQ/1.
² Jin, Xuguang, and Yuan Ye. 2022. “Impact of Fine Arts Education on Psychological Wellbeing of Higher Education Students through Moderating Role of Creativity and Self-Efficacy.” Frontiers in Psychology 13 (August). https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2022.957578.

Veteran Arts & Wellness Collaborative

Join our Fall 2023 series at Saint Leo University.

The Veteran Arts & Wellness Collaborative (VAWC) is offered at no cost to participants.

Space is limited, so register today!

Our Team

The Storytellers Alliance instructors are vetted and experienced creative professionals, many of which have advanced degrees in their respective fields. We have high expectations of our instructors so we can offer high-quality programming to you!

We pride ourselves in supporting and promoting local arts and culture, so we collaborate with a diverse mix of published authors, professors, acclaimed artists, performers, and other industry experts to provide participants with opportunities unlike anywhere else.

We are proud of the work we do in the community and in collaboration with:

Arts Council of Hillsborough County; Association for Women in Communications; Cancer Tamer Foundation; Congressman Gus Bilirakis Veterans Advisory Board; Creative Forces: NEA Military Healing Arts Network; Department of Veterans Affairs; Diavolo: The Veterans Project; Friends of Jack Kerouac; Happy Industries Art Studio; Hillsborough Community College; Hillsborough County Grants Collaborative; Johns Hopkins University International Arts + Mind Lab; Military Writers Society of America; Paint 22; Performing Arts Medicine Collaborative; Saint Leo University; Sandhill Writers Retreat; Straz Center for the Performing Arts; TimeSlips Creative Care Institute; UF Center for Arts in Medicine; University of South Florida; VetArtSpan; Wordier Than Thou

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